The Tyranny of Dragons combines the first two adventure paths into a single tome–is it worth it to tangle with the Queen of Dragons?
D&D 5th Edition launched five years ago with the Hoard of the Dragon Queen and The Rise of Tiamat, two adventure paths that pit players against a newly revamped cult of dragons, and potentially Tiamat herself, as their heroes are drawn into a wave of action and adventure. 5th Edition was brand new then, and in fact, the creators at Kobold Press had the added difficulty of not being able to use the finalized rules to design the modules. So Wolfgang Baur and Steve and Alexander Winter were figuring out everything as they went. The two adventures that make up the Tyranny of Dragons adventure path were built before 5th Edition had a chance to gel into what it would become.
You could even say that these two adventures had a hand in shaping what 5th Edition would become. But these two adventure modules were not without flaws. Several errata had to be collected and updated, which up until now were only available as separate files–but now, the two adventure paths are together, the way they’ve always been meant to, gathered in one gorgeous book with a cover designed by Hydro77.
And these pictures don’t do the cover justice. You lose the metallic effects that pop under the light. This is a beautiful book, though the special edition cover feels like a standard edition cover. The paper in the book feels different too–which is only worth noting because of how different this book feels.
But the adventure is still suitably epic. If you’ve never played through Tyranny of Dragons before, let’s talk about what the adventure is like. It starts off with a fairly scripted series of events. Characters are introduced to the town of Greenest, where they have their first encounter with a kobold raid, and find a few members of the newly revitalized cult. But it all comes to a head when a dragon attacks and the players are called to fight it off.
Hoard of the Dragon Queen proceeds fairly straightforwardly from there. You’ll follow the trail of the dragon cultists, get into fights and chases, and have to do a little dungeon delving along the way, all of it building towards a climactic encounter in Skyreach Castle, a flying fortress built by giants to fight off dragons in the elder days of the world. I love this last detail because it adds a ton of depth to the story in just a few beats.
The Rise of Tiamat, on the other hand, is more of a sandbox adventure. You’re given a little more freedom to explore, though I do enjoy the mechanic they employ. Your characters are being pursued by the cult of dragons. And there are mechanics that support this. There’s a series of three attacks that can help spur along the motion of the adventure, which is good, because this second half of the supermodule, turns the reins over to the players a little more freedom and sandbox/open world style of play.
For better and for worse. Tyranny of Dragons is at its best when it’s letting the players drive the action. I pity the poor DM who has to run this unprepared, though. There’s a lot to use here, including material not printed before. All the errata are in, but you’ll also find a guide to running adventures in and around Baldur’s Gate and Elturel, and employing the famous factions of the Forgotten Realms.
All of that’s new material, collected here for your benefit. But that means it’s time to talk about what this book is not. It is not a new adventure path. Odds are good you haven’t played it yet if you’ve just come into the hobby in the last few years, but if you have, you won’t find that much else that’s novel here. Other than giving the DM tools to use to weave together a more coherent campaign, there’s not much new in the way of adventures.
Do we recommend it? Aha. Well if you enjoy the idea of a tightly-packed adventure epic, then yeah. If you haven’t played it, absolutely check out the Tyranny of Dragons. If you have, you can make the call yourself, but you’ve already got most of the material.
Avert the cataclysmic return of Tiamat in this adventure for the world’s greatest roleplaying game.
In an audacious bid for power, the Cult of the Dragon leads the charge in an unholy campaign to bring Tiamat back to Faerûn. Alongside their dragon allies and the Red Wizards of Thay, they sweep from town to town, laying waste to all those who oppose them and gathering a hoard of riches for their dread queen.
The threat of annihilation has become so dire that groups as disparate as the Harpers and Zhentarim are banding together to fight the cult. The heroes must succeed, or Faerûn will succumb to draconic tyranny. In the end, the world will never be the same.
Two adventures (Hoard of the Dragon Queen and The Rise of Tiamat) are bound together with a fresh new cover with spectacular art by Hydro74.
Features concept art providing insight into the creative process when crafting this fantastical adventure.
Complete with errata and a reworked opening chapter.